Pet owners: 5 trends to watch in 2019

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From lavish spa treatments to the finest treats, there are no doubts pet owners of today will go the extra mile to better the lives of their furry companions.

“The Santa Clarita Valley has a very large population of pets,” said Jaime Garber, dog trainer with Santa Clarita Valley Pet Care in Valencia. “Besides that (one-on-one) connection with your pet, it’s fun to know what’s out there.”

Here are five areas to watch:

Tracking

With busy schedules, pet parents cannot always stick around their pets’ sides. Devices that track what an animal is doing when alone can put one’s mind at ease.

Smart gadgets such as the Scollar Collar use GPS technology to alert owners where a pet is at all times, while also sending owners flea and tick medication reminders and opening radio frequency-enabled pet doors. Pawscout, a smart pet tag, is a community pet-finder, which can map out where a pet is in real-time within a 300-foot range of anyone using the Pawscout app. For both cats and dogs, Eyenimal Cat Videocam is a 9-gram weighted collar with a camera that offers a pet’s eye view and works as a tracking device.

Also in the service of pet finding is a mobile app in the works by the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control. Spokeswoman Don Belton said the app not only helps in the reunion of pets and owners, but also offers adoption options.

Garber said it’s important to remember that “although smart collars and trackers are helpful, people can just remove them if they’d want to steal your pet.”

Fitness and play

Similar to the human version of fitness bands, fitness trackers and apps for pets are also on the rise, said Garber.

Food

When it comes to food and supplements, Garber said many brands are venturing into prescription diets to help pets reach health goals and target certain issues, such as anxiety.

For example, Nestle Purina is working on launching its Calming Care Canine Probiotic supplement to help dogs maintain calm behavior, and cope with external stressors, like separation and unfamiliar visitors.

Pet owners should always consult with their veterinarian for the best recommendation, said Garber. “Like with us, the higher-quality food we feed our pets, the healthier we are. It’s just important to discuss with our vets to make sure our pets are taking in what’s best for them.”

Genetic testing

Much like the DNA genetic testing and analysis companies available today, such as 23 and Me, pet parents may also be able to test their pets. Veterinary medical advances have given way to this form of testing, which can help identify breeds and those at risk of certain conditions or diseases.

“Rescuing dogs and adopting is a great thing,” said Garber. “People become curious about what breed their pet is and using genetic testing can be a fun way to learn, although it may not be 100-percent (accurate).”

Fear-free environments

Although not a 2019 initiative, the fear-free movement is one a growing number of veterinary clinics are adopting.

Founded in 2016 by Dr. Marty Becker, known as “America’s Veterinarian,” the mission of the initiative is to “prevent and alleviate fear, anxiety and stress in pets by inspiring and educating the people who care for them.”

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